Stoltenberg: ‘Time Is Now’ for Turkey to Approve Finland, Sweden Joining NATO


NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday “the time is now to ratify both Finland and Sweden” as new members of the alliance.

Speaking during a joint news conference in Ankara with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Stoltenberg said the main issue is not whether the two countries are ratified together, but that their ratification comes “as soon as possible.”

Çavuşoğlu said Turkey could evaluate the two bids separately.

Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO members that have not ratified Finland’s and Sweden’s accession in a process that must be unanimous.

Finland and Sweden applied to join following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

Turkey has expressed more reluctance about Sweden, accusing the government there of being too lenient toward groups that Turkey considers terror organizations.

Stoltenberg said Thursday that both Sweden and Finland have implemented policies that recognize the concerns that Turkey has expressed, and that terrorism would be a major topic at a NATO summit in July.

“This is a Turkish decision,” he said. “It’s the Turkish government, the Turkish parliament that decides on the issue of ratification.”

Source: Voice of America